Rolls Royce is putting up a display of their most celebrated car yet – the Phantom and they are doing it in the most enigmatic fashion. Kickstarting an exhibition that is called ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’, that will be held in Mayfair, London, for the first time it will witness the gathering of the greatest Phantoms from the last 92 years since the launch of the very first model back in 1925. The exhibition will start from the 27 July and will go on over the next eight weeks, as Rolls Royce will announce which all great Rolls Royce Phantoms from the era bygone will be travelling to London to be a part of this one of a kind exhibition that is scheduled at the end of July this year. The crown jewel of the lot, Fred Astaire’s 1927 Phantom I, now owned by the Petersen Museum in LA, will be showcased first.
The iconic Rolls Royce Phantom was originally launched in 1925, as a replacement to the Silver Ghost. Initially addressed as the New Phantom, it was quite an upgrade over the Silver Ghost. Since its inception, the Phantom has been the most preferred choice of wheels amongst the celebrities, superstars, footballer stars, athletes and many more. New Phantom was the last 40/50 hp models, which complied with the British RAC norms. New Phantom was assembled in two different locations, namely, Derby in England and Springfield, Massachusetts in the States. Next in line was the Rolls Royce Phantom II. This version shunned the 40/50 hp norm, and had revised chassis and engine. Based on the Phantom II, Rolls Royce’s body designer Ivan Evernden, build him a one-off short-wheelbase Phantom known by the name 26EX. It was in 1930 when the 26EX won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Biarritz Grand Concours d’Elegance, that the sales department at Rolls Royce officially announced the “Phantom II Continental Saloon” and released a brochure for it. The Continental had similar specs but only the wheelbase was shorter and the leaf springs were made stiffer. A total of just 281 Continental Phantoms were produced.The Rolls Royce Phantom II was succeeded by the Phantom III, the only V12 Rolls Royce until the introduction of the Silver Seraph. The Phantom III was the last that Sir Henry Royce, co-founder of the company, worked on. He died at the age of 70. You can’t advance without mentioning the Phantom IV, the most exclusive Rolls Royce models ever built. Only 18 of these were made and most of them were given to royalty and heads of state while the rest were preserved in museums and private galleries. A little trivia about the car – the first Phantom IV was ordered by Prince Philip and Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth. Phantoms were owned by people who either were a part of glorious history or had created history themselves, and by that we come to the next model in line, the Phantom V. It now had a downsized V8 engine unlike the previous model, shared from the Silver Cloud, however it was more powerful. Phantom V saw some exclusive owners namely Queen Elizabeth II, Governor of Hong Kong and Shah of Iran only to name a few.
The Phantom VI that followed was an ultra svelte rolling chassis launched in 1968. It was manufactured in West Sussex, England. Many called it a limousine due to its sheer size. Special thing about the Phantom VI’s was a unique mount specifically built for the Royal Standard and coat of arms. Coming in succession was the present day Phantom VII. This arrived in the BMW era, and had inputs from the German giant. It came in two series, series I and II. Series II had a slew of upgrades which only made it better. Two different models, namely, Drophead coupé and Phantom coupé were launched based on the Rolls Royce Phantom VII.
As all the eight legendary Rolls Royce from all eras gather together, eventually the event will be concluded by welcoming the successor to the present generation Phantom – the Phantom VIII. Rolls Royce has made sure that the setting is just as classy as the new car itself. Will it live up to that big fat claim of “the best car in the world”? Well that we’ll see once it’s launched.